Oct 28, 2010

Italian Sestet

A Sestet can best be described as any six-line stanza. The Italian Sestet originally had no set meter and was rhymed abc abc. The first documented user of this form was the Italian poet, Petrarch, who eventually incorporated it into the Petrarchan Sonnet.

Spenser brought this form to England and eventually the poets there began to use iambic tetrameter or pentameter. They gave the Sestet new rhyme schemes and, following in Petrarch’s footsteps, it was soon expanded into their Sonnets – Spenserian, Shakespearean, and Miltonian.

Today, very few poets consider the Italian Sestet a form in itself and it is seldom used. I actually found the rhyme scheme interesting to follow, but I find the six lines with which to complete my poem somewhat limiting. I can understand why the Sestet was abandoned for the lengthier Sonnet.

Does history dare repeat itself
By turning back the hands of time
And cause the world to backwards spin?
I have witnessed this myself
And wonder, is it such a crime
To reach the end and thus begin?

~ * ~ ~ * ~ ~ * ~

Ah, sleeping cat curled in a ball
I wonder what goes through your mind
When you’re awake and shadow-stalk
Along the floor and down the hall
Seeking prey that’s undefined
With green-eyed vision like a hawk.

Oct 27, 2010

Hump Day Hunk

I think this video speaks for itself. And you don't even need to hear the music in the background to enjoy it.

This is the making of the new Dieux du Stade calendar. French rugby guys nekkid!

Oct 25, 2010

Mogigraphia Monday

mogigraphia ~ writing only with difficulty

My week last week can best be summed up in a series of Dids and Did Nots. (See below) I’m sure I could use meetings, unexpected company, extended shopping trips, etc. as legitimate excuses for my lack of accomplishment last week, but I’m not going to let myself off that easily.

I have a bad habit of biting off more than I can chew and then choking on it. This seems to be what’s happening to me lately. I have a great many projects that I’m trying to do all at the same time, and I’m not getting anything accomplished because I’m too scattered. I am no longer the master multi-tasker.

In brief, I:

• get one good day of writing in, but only one.
• attend my Scribe’s meeting and made it to the Thursday night poetry reading.
• finally come up with a title for my on-line serial (c’mon, you didn’t really think I was going to call it Space Opera, did you?)
• sign up for a new blog-fest which involves posting a picture of my writing space on November 1. Find out more about it HERE
• create a separate blog for my poetry, which was totally a spur of the moment, impulsive thing that happened when I was updating my form links. You can check it out HERE
• start having second thoughts about my NaNo idea (this is what I get for having one in advance).

• do any reading
• figure out how to use my cell phone (other than turning it on and off)
• get my business website up and running
• spend an over-abundance of time on games

This Week’s Goals:

Tuesday: There seems to be a lot of people with allergies and colds right now, so Part III of my superstition series will take a look at sneezing.

Wednesday: Since it’s almost “Trick or Treat” time, I thought I’d give you a real treat for this week’s Hump Day Hunk. You won’t want to miss this! ;-)

Thursday: This week’s Passion for Poetry is the Italian Sestet.

Friday: Chapter 61 of the Space Opera. Um, didn’t they get blown up last week? Maybe there won’t be a chapter 61 . . .

Elsewhere in my week:

I’m almost afraid to plan anything for my week, cause it might invite the apocalypse. Seriously! Every time I made plans to do something lately, it gets all thrown out of whack. That’s probably why I’m a pantser when it comes to my writing. :-)

Okay, there’s a couple of things I need to get done this week. First, I need to get some serious writing done. I’ve been slacking off outrageously in the writing department lately. And second, I need to get my business web site up and running. This would be a lot easier if I didn’t keep getting errors. *sigh*

I have a poetry meeting tomorrow night, which I’m looking forward to. I might even take a couple of new poems to read to the group.

And finally, I have a huge basket of ironing to do. We’re talking several days weeks months worth. It’s strange, but the more I put it off, the larger the pile grows. :-)

And there’s my week in a nutshell. You notice that no where does it mention playing games. I should print this out and post it over my monitor.

So how about you? What are you up to this week?

Oct 21, 2010


The Redondilla is a Spanish form, one of the most popular Castillian stanzas since the 16th century. The name is derived from the Spanish redondo, meaning “round.”

Ezra Pound experimented with this form and brought about a resurgence in popularity in the 20th century.

It is an eight-syllable quatrain rhyming either abba or abab. In the latter rhyme scheme it is usually called serventesio. A Redondilla can also be referred to as Redondilla Mayor, Cuarteta and Cuartilla.

The Redondilla is:
syllabic, usually written in 8 syllable lines.
stanzaic, written in any number of quatrains.
rhymed, most common rhyme scheme abba.
called the Serventesio when rhyme abab is used.




You steal my thoughts, without a care
They’re unimportant in your view
It doesn’t matter what I do
Why did I not know to beware

You steal my words to make your own
As if it all were just routine
Misunderstanding what I mean
Your coldness cuts me to the bone

You steal my life, subdue my mind
A subtle shift and it was done
I used to think you were the one
But I am learning I’ve been blind

You steal my heart to set astray
It clearly was not meant for you
And now I need to start anew
I can’t compete with yesterday

Oct 20, 2010

Oct 19, 2010

Superstition - Part II
Black Cats

It is believed that the life giving rays of the sun rest in the cat’s eyes at night for safe keeping. ~ Egyptian superstition

Originally, the black cat represented good luck. This began in Egypt with Bast, the official deity of Egypt in the 22nd Dynasty. It was believed that by bringing a black cat into the household Bast would become part of the cat in spirit and bless the home with riches and prosperity.

A strange black cat on a porch is considered to bring prosperity. ~ Scottish superstition

In the 1600’s, Charles I of England owned a black cat. He was so attached to the it that he kept it under constant guard. When the cat fell ill and died, Charles proclaimed, “Alas, my luck is gone.” The next day he was arrested and charged with high treason. Ultimately he was put to death.

"Whenever the cat of the house is black, the lasses of lovers will have no lack." ~ English Proverb

In the Yorkshires, a black cat was believed to bring fishermen home safely from the seas. During the height of the fishing industry in this village, black kittens were often catnapped and sold to the highest bidder. In other parts of Europe, if a black cat crosses your path, you are considered to have good fortune. If a black cat walks into your house or home, you are truly blessed.

While dreaming of white cats is considered lucky, seeing one in the night is bad luck. ~ American superstition

Many people believe that a black cat brings good fortune and also, that anyone who finds the one perfect, pure white hair in an all-black cat and plucks it out without being scratched, will find great wealth and good luck in love.

A black cat in the audience on opening night portends a successful play.

In the English Midlands, a black cat as a wedding present is thought to bring good luck to the bride.

Any one who hears a cat sneezing is considered to be blessed with good luck. ~ Italian superstition

Fear of cats, particularly black cats, first arose in Europe during the Middle Ages, mainly in England. The cat characterizes independence, willfulness, and stealth. Alley cats were often fed by poor, lonely old ladies, and when witch hysteria struck Europe, many of these homeless women were accused of practicing black magic. Their cat companions (especially black ones) were deemed guilty of witchery by association.

Netherlands: Cats were considered to be evil and weren't allowed in a room where private conversations were taking place. It was believed that they could spread the gossip around.

The Pilgrims brought with them not only a devout faith in the Bible, but also a deep fear of anything considered to come from the devil. They were a very suspicious people. Black cats were viewed as a witch’s familiar. A black cat was considered to be part demon and part sorcery. Anyone caught with a black cat would be severely punished or even killed.

A black cat crossing one's path by moonlight means death in an epidemic. However, killing a cat brings 17 years of bad luck.
~Irish superstition

As the Christians gained a foothold in America, they perpetuated the belief that black cats were an integral part of witchcraft. Black cats were often sought after and killed. If a farmer believed his land had a spell cast on it, the only way to break that spell was to shoot a black cat with a silver bullet.

All Hallows Eve is believed to be the time when an opening is created to the Otherworld and the black cat is considered the catalyst for that driving force.

The belief that a black cat crossing your path is unlucky depends largely upon what country you’re in. In Japan it is believed to be good luck. So the next time a black cat crosses your path, just say “Konichiwa” and turn your luck around.

If you have a favourite superstition you’d like to find out more about, send me an e-mail at carolrward(at)gmail(dot)com.

Oct 18, 2010

Mumpsimus Monday

mumpsimus ~ view stubbornly held even when shown to be wrong

In case you missed it, the lovely Dolly Garland featured yours truly on her site Friday. You can check out my interview HERE and it’d be great if you left a comment. Hint, hint! :-)

So. What did I do last week? Good question, actually. I have to admit I was not as productive as I would have liked to have been. I was a little on the disorganized side, as well as distracted and unfocused. I’m going to blame the grey miserable weather and the fact that it was a short week because of the holiday Monday.

I activated the cell phone I was given and designed business cards and brochures for my business, which I will talk more about when I’ve got the web-site ready to launch – a task that will be much easier now that I have a domain. ;-)

It being Fall now, I made a huge pot of turkey soup and a pot of sausage/bean soup for the freezer. Since the kid has her own house now, I figured her bedroom no longer needs to be kept as a shrine, so I cleaned up what little was left in there to turn it into a proper guest room, just in time for an overnight visit from my New Brunswick sister and her husband.

Writing-wise . . . my blog posts went smoothly and I even managed to catch up on my blog reading/commenting. Worked a little on the Space Opera to make sure I get it finished before NaNo.

I finished reading another couple of books that have been lying around for a while, and yesterday, which would have been the perfect day to get some serious writing done, I read Elphame’s Choice, by P.C. Cast. Excellent book! I highly recommend it.

In between I seem to have spent a lot of playing around with a cover for my NaNo novel, which was not a good use of my time considering my idea is still pretty nebulous. And for those of you who are not yet my friend on Facebook, I discovered Mahjong Titans on my new computer and played it until my eyes were burning and my clicking hand started to cramp.

This Week’s Goals:
Tuesday: I’ve had my first request for my superstition series, so Part II will be about black cats.

Wednesday: A new hunk for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday: This week’s Passion for Poetry is the Redondilla.

Friday: Chapter 60 of the Space Opera. So what exactly is Nakeisha going to do? What can she do against armed troops?

Elsewhere in my week:
There’s a Scribe’s meeting tonight, the topic is: “I want to be alone.” And for a change I have my 150 words already done. This week also holds the third Thursday of the month, which means there’s a poetry reading on Thursday that I’m going to try and get to.

Last Tuesday I went to the movies and saw The Social Network – it was pretty interesting to see how the whole Facebook thing started. This week I think my friend and I are going to go see Red – Bruce Willis and Morgan Freeman, how can you go wrong?

I’ll probably spend a goodly amount of time working on my business website - of course first I need to brush up on my web-site building skills. It’s been a heck of a long time since I played around with a web site and, as with all things computer, if you don’t use it you lose it. I used to write the html codes in WordPerfect and then up-load them to my site. It was a lot of work, but I found it easier than learning how to use a web building program. Yes, I am weird like that. :-)

And there’s my week ahead. How about you? Anything new and exciting going on in your part of the world?

Oct 14, 2010


In Vedic tradition Yama was considered to have been the first mortal who died and found the way to the celestial abodes, thus making him ruler of the departed. According to Hindu mythology, Yama decides which Naraka (lower world or hell) and/or Swarga (higher world or heaven) the soul needs to spend time in, before returning to Bhoomi (earth) - the only world from which the soul can permanently escape the birth and death cycle. Good and bad deeds don't cancel out each other, and thus the same soul may spend time in both a hell and a heaven.

The Yama verse is both a syllabic and a rhyming form. Traditionally it is a poem of death, grief or sorrow, although it can be expanded to include simply a poem of loss (even of a season). It can be any number of quatrains, but it is written in lines of 6 syllables and must always have a title.




. . . and so on


I didn’t see in time
That you were falling ill
I did the best I could
But you grew sicker still

You rallied once or twice
Though you were still so weak
I watched you waste away
And knew the end you’d seek

I can’t believe you’re gone
No longer here with me
But you are free of pain
And have tranquility

Now you’re the brightest star
In heaven up above
All that I can do is
Remember you with love

Oct 13, 2010

Oct 12, 2010

Superstition - Part I
Finding Pennies

A long time ago, people believed that metal was a gift from the gods, given as a protection against evil. Any form of metal was considered lucky, whether it was a horseshoe hung over a door, a charm bracelet, or a good luck coin.

The old-wives tale of putting a penny in the shoe of a woman on her wedding day comes courtesy of an old Victorian rhyme. "Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue and a silver sixpence in your shoe." If a sixpence wasn’t available, a penny could be substituted. Over time the saying changed to, "and a lucky penny in the shoe." The penny in the shoe ensured that the newly married couple would always have wealth.

Find a penny, pick it up
All the day you’ll have good luck
See a penny, let it lay
Bad luck will follow you all day

The original phrase was "see a pin and pick it up and all day long you'll have good luck." This was a reference to a pagan ritual in which a pin could be used in a good luck spell. The myth was that a dropped pin might have been used in such a spell and would provide good luck to the person who found it.

Before you start scouting for good luck pennies, remember that you should only pick up a penny if it’s heads up. If it’s tails, spread the luck by activating it when you turn it over. Just beware not to pick it up yourself or you’ll draw bad luck to you.

The bottom line is that if you see a penny, why not pick it up? Even if it doesn’t bring you good luck you’ll be one cent richer.

If you have a favourite superstition you’d like to find out more about, send me an e-mail at carolrward(at)gmail(dot)com.

Oct 11, 2010

Myriorama Monday

myriorama ~ picture consisting of many interchangeable parts

Happy Turkey Day to my fellow Canadians!

Because of the number of family members coming from out of town, we had our official dinner yesterday. There were so many of us (29) that my mother-in-law rented a hall for us to eat in - it was actually handier because the kitchen had a huge stove and two microwaves for re-heating the food people brought, plus it had warming trays. The highlight of the dinner was getting a call from out west informing us that our family has increased by one more – a brand new great-niece.

I’m really loving my new computer and I got lots of work done on it last week, including writing. Thursday I designated writing day and did not think to keep track of how many words I managed – but I was very pleased with the results. Hopefully this means I’m getting back into my writing groove.

All my blog posts were written and up on time for a change, and I even managed to get some blog reading/commenting in.

Brace yourselves, I have some disturbing news. I have already settled on the subject for my NaNo. *gasp!* This is kind of scary because I’m usually more of a ‘decide at the last minute’ sort of gal. Two years ago I wasn’t even going to participate and then out of nowhere a story idea hit me. For me to have even an inkling of an idea this far in advance is unheard of!

This Week’s Goals:

Tuesday: This being the month of October, I thought it was an appropriate time to start my new series on superstitions.

Wednesday: A new hunk for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday: This week’s Passion for Poetry is the Yama.

Friday: Chapter 59 of the Space Opera. Uh, oh. What did Vida see on the monitor?

Elsewhere in my week:

No meetings this week, but there is a reading of poetry and prose on Thursday that I’m going to try and get to.

I did well writing-wise last week and I’d like to do even better this week. I’m a couple of chapters ahead in Space Opera, so this week I’d like to get back to work on Forever and For Always.

As for my personal goals . . . I was able to manage getting up earlier, but I didn’t manage to include exercise in my daily routine. Maybe this week.

I caught up on a couple of the partially read books I had on the go, and I need to update my reading challenge list. I keep falling behind on the updates – I’ve got at least 15 books to add to the list.

Speaking of books, I need to start working on my book database again too. I think I did two shelves of one bookcase in my office before slacking off. There’s six bookcases in my office alone – fourteen in the house. Fifteen if I get up to Wal-Mart tomorrow. :-)

And that’s pretty much it for me this week. How about you? What are you up to?

Oct 7, 2010


The Waka is the verse from which many Japanese forms developed, including the tanka, choka, and sedoka. Like most Oriental forms, the Waka is a short poem written to express feelings. These short poems were important to the early Japanese, used to celebrate special occasions. In the Heian period Waka were an important form of communication between lovers. A person's skill in poetry was a major criterion in determining his or her standing in society, even influencing political positions.

Over the centuries, however, Waka began to be written more to capture emotions than to explain or define them. Because the Waka is brief, the glimpse into the emotion represented by the verse is also brief.

It is written in 31 syllables, or onji, arranged in five lines. It is often said to have an upper verse, which refers to the first three lines, and a lower verse, which is the last two. The Haiku form is based on the upper verse.

In brief, the Waka is:
the basis for other Japanese forms
written in five lines
has 31 syllables
is broken into: 5-7-5-7-7
usually captures emotion rather than explaining it

I am in mourning
For the change of the seasons.
Soon will be Winter -
Summer is past, Fall almost gone –
And Spring a distant promise.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

I see them out there
Gathered around the fallen
Like angels of death -
Dispassionate eyes staring
Waiting to make the first move.

* ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *

Careless words spoken
Cutting deeper than they should;
My blood runs unseen.
You wield your weapon with skill -
Unknowing and uncaring.

Oct 5, 2010

Fairy Tale Origins - Part XX
Godfather Death

There once was an old man who had twelve children that he could barely care for. When a thirteenth child was born, the man was determined to find a fitting godfather for the boy. After rejecting God, who favours the rich over the poor, and the Devil, who deceives men and leads them astray, he was approached by Death. Because Death takes both the rich and the poor, making all men equal, the man decided he was the perfect choice for a godfather.

When the boy grew up, Death helped him become a famous physician. Because he was able to see Death, he had the ability to know immediately if a patient was going to live or die. If Death was standing at their head, the patient would live; if Death was standing at their feet, they would die.

One day a king became ill and when the physician was called to see him he saw Death standing at his feet. He tricked Death by turning the body around so Death was at his head and the king lived. This made Death angry turned him around so that Death was at his head and therefore he lived. Death was very angry, but let him off with a warning.

Some time after this the king’s daughter became ill. Again the physician tricked Death but this time Death would not forgive him and took the physician in her place.

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~

Death is a very common feature in fairy tales, especially in the tales of the Brothers Grimm. Many stories begin with the death of one or both of the hero's parents. Death in childbirth was far more common in centuries ago, and the prevalence of step–children and orphans in fairy tales reflected a social reality.

Many of these tales (in their pre–Victorian forms) were exceedingly violent — even those gathered by the Grimms in editions published for German children. Though the Grimms were known to have edited their fairy tales to remove traces of sensuality and moral ambiguity, they had no such qualms about leaving much of the worst violence intact. Murder, cannibalism, and infanticide are staples of the fairy tale genre.

In Godfather Death, Death is not the protagonist, but a secondary character who remains constant throughout the story. His presence demonstrates that death is a part of life and is always around. Death does not discriminate, it strikes both the rich and the poor and is something everyone in the world must deal with.

Death standing by the head of a person who could be cured incorporated the old belief that if you stood by the head of a dying person it would stop their soul from departing. By the same token, placing Death at the feet of a dying person reinforces the old saying “one foot in the grave,” which means "about to die."

Although Death is usually considered evil, he is seen here as a father figure, taking care of his Godson as if he were his own. Death is chosen as the godfather because of his sense of social justice. He makes the boy rich, gives him gifts and he even allows him to cheat death, once. By making Death human, the Grimms Brothers are demonstrating that Death is not something to fear.

Godfather Death shows child readers that they should not fear Death, as it is not as scary as they might think. By making the Grim Reaper friendly and fatherly, the Brothers Grimm succeed in explaining that, although Death is a part of everyone’s life, it is nothing to be afraid of.

Godfather Death
additional versions

Oct 4, 2010

Mechanolatry Monday

mechanolatry ~ worship of machines

I had another week that was not about the writing last week, except for my blog posts. I did get some editing done (not for myself) which I’m starting to find very relaxing. Does that make me weird?

My poetry post was very late going up on Thursday, but it did eventually get up there. I started working on it Wednesday night, and even got a verse written for my example, then my internet went down so I couldn’t post it. Thursday morning I read over what I’d written and decided my example needed a second verse, which turned out better than the first, and then I added a third before going back and rewriting the first.

This Week’s Goals:

Tuesday: My Fairy Tale Origins series will wrap up with Part XX, Godfather Death

Wednesday: A new hunk for your viewing pleasure.

Thursday: This week’s Passion for Poetry is the Waka.

Friday: Chapter 58 of the Space Opera. My, my. Just how will Chaney and Nakeisha create enough energy to power the communications grid? ;-)

Elsewhere in my week:

I have a Scribe’s meeting tonight, the 150 word topic is Chaos – which I have not written about yet, but I have had much experience with lately.

I need get back into my writing groove this week. I also need to start thinking about my idea for NaNo this year. I have a few percolating, but I need to start narrowing them down. I might even do the unthinkable and try – brace yourself – an outline! *gasp*

Yesterday, after doing copious amounts of research, I finally used a crow bar to pry the debit card out of my wallet and bought a new desktop computer. Today I will be setting it up. You’d think I’d be looking forward to it – it’s one of those cool, fancy touch screen models. When I first took it out of the box I thought I’d been ripped off – there was no tower. Where was the CPU? The touch screen, which is maybe an inch thick, is also the computer. Sweet! But you know what? I’m getting really tired of setting up and organizing, and loading software. Hopefully this will be it for a while.

I also have a couple of personal goals this week. The first is to suck it up and start getting up earlier. Even though I think mornings should be prohibited by law, I am most productive in the morning so I’d like to try and extend my productive time. The second is to include some form of exercise at least on the week days. This is an easy habit to break – not so easy to get into.

Reading-wise, I’ve discovered no less than five partially read books scattered throughout the house. I solemnly swear that I will not start a new book until these ones are finished. No matter how tempted I am. Of all the goals I’ve set for this week, I think this will be the hardest one to reach. :-)

And that’s what I’ve got planned for my little corner of the world this week. How about you? What have you got planned?